1. Forum
  2. >
  3. Topic: German
  4. >
  5. "Der Mensch hat keinen andere…


"Der Mensch hat keinen anderen Wert als seine Wirkungen."

March 23, 2013



Wow...I have no idea what to make of this. It seems misplaced in the beginner section. I went from "Der Pferd isst dem Apfel" to this difficult sentence. Something must be wrong in the placement.


lol, Definitely too big jump.


... and the word that I wrote wrong was "men" instead of "man" :P


"The man hast" instead of "The man has" :(


What does this mean? I don't get it. Is it a German colloquialism?


7 new words ! that's a big jump


Yeah, seven for me as well.


I think the meaning is "The man has no other value than his own actions". In other words, Your actions (and their effects) speak for your value. Therefore, I would translate Wirkungen here as actions not effects.


but "effects" means belongings...


The plot thickens...


Only in Briton, to americans it means actions and what happens because of what someone did. Course, i use effects as belongings sometimes, i'm turning British...

[deactivated user]

    "Wirkungen" definitely doesn't mean "belongings".


    Might Schiller have meant the effect a person has, his/her influence or impact on the world or events?

    In English, I believe the phrase "[a person's effects]" usually refers to a handful of personal possessions. Generally the phrase is used in the case of someone who has died in a tawdry boarding house ("The landlord bundled up his personal effects and set them out on the curb") or, perhaps, to the items one has in one's pockets when one checks into a hospital or a prison ("They put his personal effects in an envelope and gave him a receipt.") But by contrast, you wouldn't refer to Bill Gates's personal property as "his effects."

    If you're using the word "effect" to talk" about consequences of a person's actions, however, you'd be more likely to say "the effect s/he has."

    All of which, of course, still leaves the question as to what Schiller meant.


    Might Schiller have meant the effect a person has, his/her influence or impact on the world or events?

    This was my take on the sentence.


    I think 'impact' is a good translation for 'Wirkungen' here. I'd like to see the original sentence in context as it is not entirely clear whether 'der Mensch' refers to a specific person or mankind (that's what I suspect) and whether 'Wert' refers to his own set of values or to the judgement of the world about him. I already did some research to find the source. My guess was 'Wallensteins Tod' (where such a sentence clearly would make sense) but I couldn't find it there.

    So it could either mean: 'The value of a man is solely determined by his impact on the world'

    or: 'This man here values only one thing: what his impact on the world is'

    I suspect the former, but without the original text we can't be sure.

    [deactivated user]

      It's a quote from "Der Geisterseher" (The Ghost-Seer).




      I've had a quick look at Grimms' dictionary and to me it seems that "actions" is a better fit than "impact".



      @christian: thanks a lot. »Lassen Sie uns diesen Ausdruck vermeiden, der uns irre führt. Sagen Sie, er ist da, weil die Ursachen seines Daseins da waren und weil seine Wirkungen existieren, oder, welches ebensoviel sagt, weil die Ursachen, die ihm vorhergingen, eine Wirkung haben mußten, und die Wirkungen, die er hervorbringt, eine Ursache haben müssen.«

      ›Wenn ich ihm also einen Wert beilegen will, so kann ich diesen nur nach der Menge und Wichtigkeit der Wirkungen abwägen, deren Ursache er ist.‹

      »Nach der Menge seiner Wirkungen. Wichtig nennen wir eine Wirkung bloß, weil sie eine größre Menge von Wirkungen nach sich ziehet. Der Mensch hat keinen andern Wert als seine Wirkungen.«

      As he talks about cause and effect here, I think I'd still vote for 'impacts' or 'effects' in the sense of a causal relationship.


      yes, pay attention at plural effectS :)


      I like the jump. Tired of "the cat likes the apple."


      i'm at the beginning level and this seems like a ridiculously complex sentence. So what on earth is going on? How am i suppose to know this when i'm at the beginner stages?


      I haven't seen annyyyy of these words before. I am mildly concerned.

      [deactivated user]

        Don't even worry about this. It's a quote from Friedrich Schiller (an 18th century German writer). I suggest Duolingo get rid of this sentence.



        So the real answer is in context--specifically, what Friedrich Schiller meant by it, not what meaning we might try to impute to it here.


        @christian: Hast du zufällig die Zitatquelle parat? Ich glaubte den Satz im Wallenstein gelesen zu haben, konnte ihn aber nicht mehr finden.


        Removed from the database. Still a very interesting discussion, Schiller would be proud! And @wataya Zitat stammt vom philosophischen Gespräch aus dem "Geisterseher" (Romanfragment)


        Seems like a Germans saying, doesnt even make sense or common in English.. ugh.. :(


        that escalated quickly...


        7 new words in one sentence. Duolingo keeping us humble i see.


        just speculation here, but i'm taking "effects" to mean belongings, rather than the result of a cause. I'm thinking this is a cynical sort of expression meaning that people value material goods over everything else.


        The implied meaning Wirkungen made me think of effects as "Things" like belongings. I don't think this colloquialism translates well.


        Too many new words in one sentence here.


        Wow, this is like buses..... No new words for ages and then seven all in one go....


        I reckon its effects. We are valued by our effect on the world.


        So to recap:

        Nouns: Wert, Wirkungen

        Comparitives: keinen, anderen, als

        Ownership: seine


        The man has no other goods than his belongings


        The man has no other value than his belongings - Owl dislikes it. Why?


        For me, the more different words the better. That makes your mind sharp, fast and smart.


        Too many new words and "complex" sentence


        "7 New Words" OY! I agree with MatthewEGreen. Too much, too fast for this one. No way I'm going to remember more than one or two words off the bat.


        Wow, quite a jump, It can be nice, but still having to many new words in a single sentence... not sure if that is a sign of what is to come, or not... just a thought... >.<


        translate follow the hints, and think/digest it later... :)


        Just when you think you're getting the hang of things.. =)

        Learn German in just 5 minutes a day. For free.